I don't know why we even bother to provide Xander with toys. Really, sometimes it seems like anything else is infinitely more interesting than the things he owns, that are his to play with and enjoy.
Right before (or maybe it was right after) Evan was born, I had mentioned to Andy that it might be nice for us to buy Xander a doll, a baby of some kind. I know, boys don't usually play with dolls, blah blah blah, but he's such a nurturing kind of kid, and he genuinely enjoys caring for his stuffed animals. I figured if he had a baby of his own, then he could take care of his while I took care of mine (Evan). He likes to role play just about everything Mommy and Daddy do, so I thought baby care would be no exception.
Well, as it turns out, we didn't buy him a doll. However, he does enjoy playing caretaker to a baby of his own. In his case, his baby is Fred, his favorite stuffed doggie. Nowadays, he follows along with just about everything I do with Evan. Is it time for Evan to take a nap? Well, it's time for Fred's nap, too! Where does Fred sleep? In a "crib" of his own, which is just a cardboard box that Xander nestles him in with a blanket. Where is that crib located? It used to be right next to Xander's bed, just like Evan's crib was right next to our bed. Last week, Evan moved into his own bedroom, so now Fred has moved into his own bedroom, too. When Fred is "sleeping," Xander becomes very concerned about how Fred is doing, so he'll get up out of bed a lot to check on him. Eventually, I think Fred ends up in Xander's room every night, anyway.
Xander has gotten very creative in making sure that Fred has all the same necessities as Evan. This morning, his toy farm silo was sitting on our kitchen table, and I later found out it was because the silo was really Fred's baby monitor, and he was using it to listen for him while he slept. When we ate couscous for dinner the other night, Xander fed couscous to Fred, too. He threw Fred into a box (I guess that was his high chair or something) and tossed a bunch of loose change in there with him. The pennies and dimes were little grains of couscous. When we are playing with Evan on the floor, Fred will take the opportunity to use Evan's rocking chair. The list goes on. There are seemingly endless ways in which Xander will use what we already have in the house and turn it into something else, something that serves the purpose of this elaborate Fred-as-baby game we play. It is so funny to me that half the time Xander whines and begs us to come up with something for him to do, because he's bored. With an imagination like his, how could you ever be bored?
As I said in the beginning, we don't ever need to buy Xander toys, it seems. He either plays with things in the house that aren't really toys, like chair cushions or empty envelopes, or he plays with Evan's toys. This is particularly interesting to me, considering that Evan's toys are baby toys and should therefore be rendered useless by Xander. I was wrong to think that, I guess. Turns out Evan's toys are way more fascinating than just about anything else we own. Of course, you can guess what happens when the shoe's on the other foot and Evan touches Xander's toys! It's like the end of the world! I'm still figuring out how to entertain a boy with so much going on in his little head. One thing I do know for sure now, though, is that we could have saved so much money on toys these last few years. Oh, well, we've learned, and now we're better prepared for Evan to be three.